Alibaba posts record Singles’ Day haul amid sustainability push

Alibaba has announced a record 540.3 billion yuan ($84.54 billion) haul over Singles’ Day, the world’s largest online shopping festival.

The figures mark an 8.45 per cent increase from last year’s numbers, however it also is the lowest growth rate in the event’s history amid the company’s promise to put sustainability over profitability.

Growth was the festival’s first-single digit growth since its inception in 2009.

Last year, the Chinese ecommerce giant sold 498.2 billion yuan ($78 billion) worth of items over the 11-day extravaganza.

The event’s slow growth comes at the same time as the wider nationwide economic growth decline China has seen amid the relentless crackdown by Beijing on some of the country’s biggest tech companies.

Alibaba in particular changed its focus before Singles’ Day, highlighting environmentally friendly products and charity initiatives.

READ MORE: Alibaba puts sustainability ahead of profitability during annual Singles’ Day event

Alibaba’s 11.11 just set a new record, but it’s looking beyond numbers,” Alibaba said on a blog post.

“Sustainability and inclusivity targets should be taken into account too.

“In the early stages of 11.11, we focused on growth — the same way that parents would focus on a child’s height and strength.

But as a child becomes a teenager, the parents shift their focus to nurturing the child’s sense of responsibility: the role he or she plays in society. That is what we’re doing now,” said Alibaba chief marketing officer Chris Tung said in the post.

Some of the third-party retailers that partook in the festival also played down their efforts this year as a result of President Xi Jinping’s call for “common prosperity.”

Alibaba rival JD.com also smashed its its previous Singles’ Day sales total with a $48.7 billion haul.

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